EVENTS: 2013 Japanese Classic Car Show, Part 04 – Rolling Stock

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Purists will be pleased. This year’s JCCS had significantly more bone stock cars on display than any previous show. And they weren’t of the standard variety of, say, a 2000GT or Datsun 312, though those were well represented. We’re talking about mod-friendly machines that you’d normally have to sift through a thousand cragislist ads to find in unmolested shape. 

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Let’s start with the Datsun 510. Its status as the O.G. Japanese sport sedan and ease of modification has led to countless BRE replicas, track day warriors and engine-swapped street machines. Stock examples are nearing extinction. Adding Randy Lewis’s barn find there were no less than five stock examples at JCCS.

That’s a record. We loved the no-nonsense look of this California black plate special, complete with dealer optioned ding guards. By the looks of it, a survivor. By contrast, David Jones‘s fully restored orange one was flawless. We wouldn’t change a thing on either one.

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There was also Art Brown‘s 1969 “barn find” that looked like it had been pulled straight from that very barn moments before the show. According to the owner it was bought from a “little old lady in Pasadena” just like in that Jan and Dean song, and that’s original paint under that layer of dust. It’s for sale, too. Any takers?

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Our friends at Cabe Toyota displayed a mint MkIII Toyota Supra Turbo alongside their Toyota Stout shop truck. Most Supra guys probably see a massive turbo-shaped hole that needs filling but at least one thought his MA71 was perfect as is. It’s no 510, but one day these will become obscenely rare too.

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For reasons only the cosmos understands, there were no less than three Isuzu Impulses at JCCS this year. Three! Add the Chevy LUV from Part 02 to the mix and we’ve got a record Isuzu count, beating all previous JCCS shows combined.

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Our friend Bart Wilkus came down from Reno, Nevada in his 1987 Impulse RS Turbo Special Edition. The rare edition of an already rare car features a unique white-with-pewter trim paint scheme and all-white wheels. Bart went home with the Neoclassic Magazine award.

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Jeff Shein has been an Isuzu employee for 32 years, and even though his company doesn’t even make passenger cars in the US any more, he has kept his Isuzu Impulse Turbo, which he purchased new in 1986, as a reminder of the good old days. Jeff also owns what is probably the largest inventory of NOS Impulse/Piazza parts on Earth, including a factory assembled complete engine that’s never been run. Jeff went home with the Best JCCS Rare Marque award (encompassing Suzuki, Subaru, Isuzu and Daihatsu).

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Stock 1970s Hondas are not a rare sight at JCCS, but we were still impressed by the originality of the ones displayed. Mark Frakes daily drives his 1979 Civic during the winter months. Sacrilege? Maybe not, he lives in Arizona. Now he’ll be driving it with the Best Civic award.

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You might recognize JNCer Chris Hoffman by his screen name The Black CRX, but Chris also owns this incredible, 18,000 mile 1980 Honda Accord LX. The previous owner traded in a Corvette for this baby and put only 17,000 miles on it over the next 30 years. Its Longleet Gold paint still gleams brighter in the SoCal sun than most cars decades newer. Unsurprisingly, Chris received the Best Old School Honda award.

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Chris Green’s 1979 Accord sedan is equally astounding, another unrestored survivor that had only 8,000 miles on it when he took ownership. People drove Hondas because they were the fuel-saving alternative to Detroit yachts back in the day. Why buy if you’re only going to put a few hundred miles on it each year? It’s confounding, but we’re glad these time capsules exist.

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Incredibly, there was also a trio of stock Datsun 1200s on the lawn this year. B110 Sunnys are popular in Japan and other parts of the world, but they’re exceedingly uncommon in the US. Jose Serna‘s red coupe, Robert Austin‘s white sedan and Dale Herseth‘s blue coupe were a pleasant surprise, and though the B110 takes just as easily to mods as the 510 or Z, these stock examples were the only ones present.

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You might recognize Michael Sameshima‘s superbly preserved, award-winning 1980s-style 200SX hatch. He recently acquired a companion S110 in this gorgeous, two-tone 1981 coupe, which has only 55,000 miles on it and was owned by a little old lady. You gotta love those ornate alloy-looking hubcaps!

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We were also impressed by the prevalence of stock examples of the ultimate 70s sports car. Like its little brother 510, the Datsun 240Z just begs to be tuned, but we appreciate the fact that some owners kept them original. Amazingly, Richard Scharf‘s orange example still wears its original, 43-year-old paint.

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Ralph Rodheim and his wife are the original owners of this black plate, low-windshield Datsun 1600 Sports roadster.  Aside from a repaint and wear-and-tear items, everything else is O.G. and even the clock and 46-year-old radio still work.

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We’re cheating a little, because Sarah Bantay‘s 1990 FC RX-7 isn’t entirely original. It has a Koyorad radiator, a Tanabe/KYB spring/shock combo and Racing Beat exhaust, but the important thing is that the body and wheels look stock and aren’t fitted with an arsenal of aero bits.

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Bone stock first-gen RX-7s aren’t on the endangered species list just yet, but we still appreciate a sighting. Plus it makes a good companion with the white FC above.

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It’s no secret that we love Cressidas here at JNC. Heck, I own one personally. However, only a fraction of enthusiast-owned examples are being kept with the thought of preservation. Ruston Calisch‘s 1978 wood-grain wagon is one of the few, and it’s gorgeous. It’s also the winner of the Best Cressida category.

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Had we been judging this category we would’ve had a hard time choosing between Ruston’s wagon and James Duke‘s unrestored 1981 Cressida sedan. We watched it roll into position during morning set up and let me tell you, that thing just cold glided. The proto-Lexus simply slid across the lawn like an iceberg and moved so quietly you couldn’t even tell the engine was running. It was a beautiful thing.

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This year’s JCCS also saw a surprising number of bone stock trucks, and it wasn’t just familiar faces like Kenny Ueda‘s 1963 Datsun 320. Like the low-mileage Hondas, the act of buying a cheap pickup and then keeping it stock for 30-plus years seems like a mysterious move, but we’re glad someone did it.

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We’ve seen some great Mazda REPUs at JCCS, but a well-preserved, piston-powered Mazda B2000 was an unusual sight.

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Luis Hernandez‘s 1967 Datsun 521 won Best Datsun pickup last year, and we were glad to see it return. It definitely deserved another shot at the title.

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This year, however, the trophy went to John Kennedy for his little red 1966 520, and it’s easy to see why. These are impossibly rare, even in beat-up form.

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In the Best Toyota Pickup category, Robert Stipe won for his 1974 Hilux, fully restored and wearing original dealer option slot mags from the era.

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Last but not least, we were amazed this year to find a large number of EF Honda CRXes at the show, many of them bone stock or very close to it. We had thought unmolested CRXes were rarer than unicorns, but were very pleased to be proven wrong.

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There were a lot of nice examples, but Luis Jaimes1991 CR-X won the Best Honda CRX award. It’s a genuine JDM import, complete with rear seats, glass roof and optional electronic jack that plugs into the cigarette lighter. Congrats, and preserve it well, Luis!

We have much more coverage of the 2013 JCCS coming up, but in case you missed it here’s Part 01 — Debuts and Historic CarsPart 02 — Diversity of Marques and Part 03 – Mad Tuning Style. Stay tuned.

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25 Responses to EVENTS: 2013 Japanese Classic Car Show, Part 04 – Rolling Stock

  1. Lukas said:

    Phantastic cars Europe can only dream about and cool pictures as well! Keep them coming!

  2. Aly said:

    Awesome series!

    By the way, that Accord should probably say 1980, not 1970 =)

  3. Tyler said:

    love love love love love love love this post.

    I can only dream to someday attend the JNC Mecca that is JCCS. Such fantastic old cars in fantastic old paint colors. Rock on, everyone.

    Where could I find more pictures of the green 240Z? It looks almost just like the one in my “Gallery of Datsun Originals” brochure. Gorgeous. http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5133/5485122954_966ed22990_b.jpg

  4. acbpanda said:

    Love that 1st gen Mazda, but can’t say anything bad about the others!

  5. Toyotageek said:

    I applaud those that have the courage to…. Keep it STOCK!
    I salute you – Kanpai!

  6. Steve said:

    Just curious…how is the 91 CRX import legal? I thought it was just a couple more years till its 25 years old…

  7. Liam said:

    Hey Ben! Thanks for grabbing a snap of my 166K Mazda B2000! That truck was a backup vehicle (Brad’s show cressida became unavailable) and he ended up using it to drive down from Norcal and shoot this great little video along the I5; my mx73 Cressida, Dom’s ’71 240Z, and Kenley’s ’71 4dr Ka-T 510: http://youtu.be/Tuc4N6BWbGo

    The truck a great example of the breed; too many of them have been discarded due to bad solenoids in the electronically controlled feedback carburetors, blown head gaskets, or have become carboard/used bottle/trash trucks . . . a sorry fate for any vehicle.

  8. MSH said:

    Finally some b110s tx guys

  9. Bart said:

    Awesome! Awesome! Awesome!

    I hope to fill the Isuzu gap again next year!! What a spectacular day it was!

  10. Dale - Az said:

    Hey Ben, It was cool to run into you again. What a great show this was. Thanks for covering the show, you really do a nice job. I like the picture of our blue 1200 coupe that you included! Keep up the good work!
    ….Dale in Az

    • Ben said:

      Hey Dale, it was great to see you too (and your clean 1200)! Glad you enjoyed the show, and thanks for preserving the car for posterity.

  11. Jim said:

    Looks like it was a great show this year, so sorry I missed it. The white FC RX-7 has non original wheels. Only the convertible had the BBS style wheels.(at least in the US)

  12. 20B Rotary said:

    Seems the photographers at this site ignore or lack knowledge about other cars. Only the most common models are showm
    n, and a lot of post 1980 cars are favored . After 1980 the automobile industry changed drastically.

  13. Dan said:

    Ok now I’m a bit ticked. No mention or pict of my preserved non restored 510. Seriously. Such a major insult after how far I drove my car to this show. Normally I do t care but come on. Does someone have something against me and my car? Because yet again no pic no info about one of the few preserved and not restored 510s around. Makes me feel the show was really worth it.

    • Tyler said:

      Wow, chill out.

      • Dan said:

        Nah I’m good. I have a reason to not be happy, and others that have agreed with me including my father who was there and is usually not someone to agree with people complaining. He even said I have a right to be ticked. I don’t live down there and am not part of the click it seems so I got ignored, so don’t tell me to chill out buddy. I’m voicing my feedback

    • Ben said:

      Hi Dan,

      Which car was yours? I’ve corrected the sentence to say that there were five stock 510s, but I honestly can’t remember seeing yours, nor did our two photographers. Don’t take it personally. We don’t know most of those 510 owners personally, and some of them aren’t SoCal show regulars so it’s not about cliques.

      • Dan said:

        All I have is my phone so sorry if typed weird. The blue preserved never restored. 72 I was next to the white cross country 510. Right at the front of the center row. Glad to hear something back from you guys. Came down from wa. Driving it not trailering it as we’ll. I’ll take it as a compliment if it looks to good to be stock I guess. But it’s 99.5% original never restored. Also quite well known in the north west and canada. Even been on dime quarterly articles and been in 510 again years ago. So just feels weird it was passed up.

      • Ben said:

        Hi Dan,

        While I can’t speak for our photographers, I think it’s likely that they didn’t take a pic of you car because it was halfway under a tent. It’s nearly impossible to get a good photo of any car that’s half hidden in the shadows. Even in the photo you posted, the sign and the tent are blocking out more than 1/2 the car itself. It’s not that your car isn’t worthy, but it was just its unfortunate placement. It was a huge show and they have to cover a lot of ground in the short time they have, so sometimes they have to skip things because it would simply take too long to get a clear shot.

        • Dan said:

          The miss of the pic is fine. I’d just like. And how u corrected it about how any stock 510s were there. Mines got a huge history She’s been being shown since the 90′s just as she is now. The original owner loved her a lot and drove from van be to shows all down the west coast. 50 wins at 50 Datsun shows with her. I mainly show her to keep his memory going and how much he did for the Datsun community. I don’t beeleive in trailering either. Just like with Arthur she goes everywhere under her own power. Stock l16. Auto tranny and I can still do 80-85 down the freeway with no issues. Love this car. Why I set it up as he did at every show. I just had a cover up because I’m from wa. I would burn so bad in that sun lol.

  14. Dan said:

    Also 5 stock cars. Dave. 68. Barn find cross country next to me then my car. I’m just annoyed again I’m ignored. Feels like someone has something against me. My car is 99 percent original. Never restored Jccs even had it down as restored which I had to correct them on. So I hope someone can understand why this gets under my skin

  15. miatadon said:

    Were Miatas not allowed? 1st gen Miatas that survive in good condition are scarce now, and would be a nice addition to the car show.
    I have four older Japanese vehicles that are stock, and I think they would get attention at the show as so few cars like these are left that are unmolested and still looking pretty- ’91 Civic Si, ’92 Integra GSR, ’89 Prelude Si, and ’91 Mazda B2600i pickup truck. I bought the Mazda pickup new; never thought it would be an interesting old vehicle but so few remain on the road that I guess it has gained that status.